So as you all know, we are preparing to leave Australia. We’ve always known we were going to leave when Mathias finished his PhD. But we kind of forgot to plan anything until all of a sudden it was 2023 already and we had to get cracking!
As is typical in my chaotic life, so many things started to fall apart immediately. This kind of thing only happens when we are under insane time pressure! Often at night Mathias and I will talk about the many things that are going on and just laugh about it. Because if we don’t, we’ll either have a melt down or just cry! But here’s a quick update on the shit show we’re currently living through.
Mathias’ Never Ending PhD Defence
The thing we’ve been waiting on before we leave Australia is for Mathias to do his defence. We thought there was no possible way it wouldn’t have been done by now, considering he submitted his thesis back in October. But of course, we were wrong.
He received comments back from his assessors in January, and his coordinator suggested a few dates for his defence. Everything was coming along great, and it seemed that his defence would be done no later than mid February. A little later than we had planned, but no real problem.
February starts ticking away, but there’s no news from his coordinator. He thought knew it would be hard to arrange a defence between three different time zones, so we could just wait a while. By the time all the initial proposed dates had almost past, Mathias emailed his coordinator for an update, but there was no response. A few days later, he went to his office. His coordinator didn’t recognise him for a moment, then a look of horror crossed his face as he whacked his hand to his head. In that moment it was obvious to Mathias that his coordinator had FORGOTTEN to arrange his defence! Mathias mimicked the response of his coordinator, but with far more defeat.
One week after that interaction and a follow up email, there is still no word from his coordinator. Still no date for a defence, and we are leaving Queensland in just two weeks! A little update from today – Mathias went to see his coordinator again today after he was unresponsive. His coordinator has YET AGAIN FORGOTTEN TO SEND THE FRIGGEN EMAIL!!!!!!!
Everything we were waiting for is now kind of pointless. It’s now likely that Mathias will be doing his defence from either Melbourne or Sweden. Not exactly ideal, considering he now has to deal with preparing to leave Australia while defending his life’s work from an unfamiliar place. But you know, it just ads a little bit of spicy pressure to an already very stressful situation. What’s life without a little bit of chaos, right?
A Dislocated Jaw
A fun little thing that I’m dealing with right now is a dislocated jaw. About a year and a half ago, not long after returning to Australia, I went to the dentist. I couldn’t keep my jaw open for as long as they needed, so they told me I needed to get a CT scan to see what was wrong. But of course, I didn’t. At least until about a year later until I quit my job and had more time up my sleeve.
My doctor sent the CT Scan to the hospital the moment he received it, before even seeing me. He explained that something wrong, and was hoping I was a candidate for keyhole surgery to fix it. That happened back in August last year. In November, I a chunk of my tooth fell out. But my jaw could hardly open at that point, so I had to wait to see the surgeon first. Months went by but I heard nothing.
My doctor contacted them and they advised that somehow my address in their system had changed to Western Australia. They had been sending communication to the wrong place! He reinforced it was urgent because my jaw was hardly moving, I could only consume liquids and I had a chipped tooth. They sent me another letter (to the right address this time) saying they would see me within 30 days.
Christmas comes and goes, still no word from the hospital. I’m in pure agony, living on just soup and protein shakes and decide to call the hospital. There’s no dial tone – it just cuts out. I try again the next day and I thankfully get onto someone. He advises me that the practice doesn’t open again until the 20th of January, and they’re only open every second Friday. Sorry, WHAT? So I took the first appointment they had and went back to my doctor.
I got a referral to a private surgeon hoping that would be much quicker than the public system. We should have done that from the start, but my doctor didn’t know I had private health insurance. Eventually in late January, I see the first surgeon. He lets me know that they don’t do surgery until I’ve done at least 6 months of physio and psychology. I let him know that I was preparing to leave Australia, and he said he’d see what he could do.
I then meet with the private surgeon. He tells me the CT scan is useless and he needs to send me for an MRI. So I went out and got one that same day, and booked in an appointment to see him the next week. In the follow up appointment, he let me know that the disk that allows my jaw to move has fallen into a different place and is compacted there. He lets me know that they won’t do surgery on this because of my age. He also said that it’s very common, and about 50% of the people with it don’t experience any pain. For the other 50% it’s pure agony. I fall into the latter category. He said of those, about half of them are helped with physio. The rest just basically need to live with it.
Unfortunately my physio hasn’t been able to give me anything helpful because she wasn’t sure of the actual issue. All I have from her is to lightly massage the outside of my jaw and hope for the best. There was another mix up with the hospital, and the appointment I had with my physio after my MRI wasn’t scheduled. There’s no availability before I leave Queensland unfortunately, so I just need to rub my jaw every now and then. I have my fingers crossed that one day when we settle wherever we settle I can see someone who can do something about it. Until then, it’s liquid foods and limit socialising and talking to about an hour a day – but that’s really pushing it!
After finding out that they couldn’t do anything for my dislocated jaw, I went to a dentist to speak about my chipped tooth. The dentist had a look, but couldn’t do much because he couldn’t get more than a finger in my mouth. He let me know that the chipped tooth needs to be fixed, and because I can’t open my mouth anymore, I haven’t been able to reach my wisdom teeth when brushing. ALL my wisdom teeth now need to be removed.
The dentist knew we were leaving soon, so he said the only option is to hope that a surgeon is available. They did the ring around and have luckily found me a surgeon to do the proceedure. Timing isn’t the best, I go in for surgery just a couple of days before we fly to Melbourne. But the good news is that my tooth will be fixed, and they can pry my jaw open while I’m knocked out and I won’t feel a thing! Recovery is likely going to be a bit of a bitch though, but hey, at least something is moving in the right direction.
Our Civil Union
We’ve known from the beginning that us moving country together is going to be quite the hurdle. But not one that we can’t over come. I refuse to spend any part of my life without Mathias, and he’s the same. So we decided to make life a little easier, we would officially register our relationship with a civil union. We’re not entirely sure if this will help. It seems a number of countries only recognise this if it’s a same sex couple, but in other countries, it’s the same as being married. I did suggest to Mathias that we could just get married, but he’s a little (a lot!) more traditional than I am, and want’s to do that the right way.
So off we go to the court house, sign our papers and request a commemorative certificate. We opted not to go for the ceremony, which meant we had a 10 day cooling off period. Hilarious, I know! They let us know our certificate would be sent after the cooling off period had passed. After a month, we still hadn’t received our certificate, so I gave them a call. The lady I spoke with assured me that we had not registered our relationship. She let me know that we had just come in and paid for a certificate, but that we still needed to register our relationship. Again… Sorry, WHAT?
I told her we sat at the court house, provided all our documents and they were signed by the officiant. I said there was no way that we did all of that just for a certificate without registering our relationship. She sighed and said she’d pass me to someone else, but they’d be telling me the same thing.
Thankfully the next lady I was transferred to said we had registered our relationship, and they we had paid for the certificate. The two just weren’t linked in the system. She fixed it up and told me the certificate would be sent the next day. That was also about a week ago, so hopefully we have something before we leave this house!
Where on earth are we going!?
The main question we get asked is what country we’re moving to. And honestly, we have no fucking idea. Initially we had planned that Mathias would take a few months off to recover from his traumatic PhD experience. Then eventually he would try to get a remote job so we could work from anywhere. But it turns out there really aren’t many remote jobs for a Marine Biologist! He started looking for remote bioinformatics positions, but unfortunately had no luck. I believe this is because we’re in Australia, which is a stupid time zone for the rest of the world.
The thought of not having an income or taking a few moths off causes him a bit of stress. So he started applying for a few ‘in lab’ positions. He’s now at second round interviews with two companies, both in Germany. Our initial plan was to move to Croatia, then it changed to Portugal, but now it could be Germany!
So in short, we have no idea where in the world we’re going. We just know that in two weeks we’re going to Melbourne to say goodbye to my people, then to Sweden in March to see his family. So although we’re preparing to leave Australia, from here, it’s anyone’s guess!